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CD Feature/ Mary & the Boy: "Mary & the Boy"

img  Tobias

Pop has lost much of its revolutionary potential. To Mary and the Boy, however, it is still a weapon. From bringing together Beethoven and raunchy RnB in their live shows to sexy promotional photoshoots somewhere in the middle between a joke and deadly serious professionalism, they know exactly how to play the game, while keeping things interesting for themselves as artists. Their eponymous debut album manages to expand upon this confronting stance by placing their philosophy in a sort of theatrical context and mating it with religious provocation.

There have been, this much is certain, tamer records this year. The title index already provides plenty of hints towards the direction this Greek ensemble is taking: “birth”, “death”, “mama” – fundamentals of life presented within a proliferatingly perverted context. One can vividly imagine the fun the band is having reading reviews by the most polite and gentle of journalists citing lyrics like “Your girlfriend died of Syphilis. Oh. What a pity”.

This radical surface is only half of the story, though. For the album only really takes off through its charmingly catchy melodies and heavenly hooks. It makes a remarkable difference, after all, listening to a sentence like “I’m a cock. Do you want to suck me?” when accompanied by a string of irresistible guitar chords or by atonal, academic piano clusters.

However, clever provocation and the effective use of memorability in places where one would least expect them is not all there is to this album. Surprises are around every corner and styles from all over the place get bunched together in a colourful musical bouquet which no longer carries the traditional connotations of its contributing flowers. Ecstatic industrial screams, piercing distortion molten into hymnal harmony, church organs rising triumphantly from whispered profanities, metal intermezzos with exploding bass drums and short excerpts from what could be endless soundscapes.

The interplay between almost emotionless, sonorous male voices and strident, extravagant, eccentric and theatrical female chant is the immediately recognisable element which holds things together. One can’t help but feel that each track is to be experienced as a short scene from a dilusional cut-up movie with the protagonists taking on various roles in the process.

Mary and the Boy want to be everything at the same time – whore and angel, sinner and saint. It is therefore only consequential, that their constant rants must end in a grand gesture of appology: “Jesus” will have believers crying and should see Andrew Lloyd Webber furious as to why he didn’t come up with this theme himself (if he were ever exposed to it). You never quite know of whether it’s a parody or whether they actually mean it.

In this case, this doesn’t mean May and the Boy have failed. Ambiguity has always been the strong point of pop and it is the essence of an album, which carries its double entendre like a precious mink.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Low Impedance Records


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